Guide to Doing Your Manicure at Home

Can’t hit saloon for some reason? A lot of what is done at the parlors can be done at home too such as manicures. Women should be aware that nail health is unarguably one of the most important aspects. Filing and shaping the nails makes them clean and attractive as well. A manicure can be done at home with some very easy steps. 

What You Will Need?

Make sure that before beginning the manicure session, you have the following items ready. 

  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Nail Clippers
  • Nail Filer
  • Cuticle Remover
  • Hand Moisturizers / Exfoliants
  • Hand Wash
  • Base Coat
  • Nail Polish
  • Top Coat
  • Assorted Hand Creams
  • Cotton balls

It may appear as a long list of items but this is important for having the nails done in an Insta-worthy manner. 


Preparing for a Manicure

Preparing for a manicure is important so that your final outcome is truly glamorous. First off, you need to wash your hands properly. Although soap can do the job, we recommend buying handwash for the purpose. Clean your hands and fingers thoroughly as this will improve blood flow and will also give you a fresh feel. Care for the entire hands rather than just the nails is what is important for an effective manicure. 

Keep in mind that during this process, if you have any nail polish on your hands already, you need to take it off. Even if you don’t have nail polish on, it is advised that you apply some nail polish remover on the nails and clean them out with a cotton ball. Try to go around the edges of nails and even the sides because these areas are usually not easy to clean. You may use an earbud as well if the cotton ball is not being helpful.

When you are buying the nail polish removers, our suggestion would be to get the non-acetone-based removers. This is usually recommended because women’s nails are soft and these removers can do the task in a much gentle manner compared to acetone-based removers. On the other hand, some women prefer acetone-based removers which work faster and require less time to be applied to the skin. However, either way, the skin is getting exposed to the nail polish removers which is not quite healthy. 


Begin the Manicure

Once you have the nails and hands ready, you are all set for starting the manicure. 

Step 1 : Shape the Nails

In case the nails are longer, you need to clip them down first. This is up to you how much length you want. There are different types of nail clippers that come with shapers as well. So you can get the desired shape and length accordingly. Get them from any cosmetic shop close to you or order them directly from 

Once you are done clipping them, file the nails but do it in a gentle manner. Move the filer in a single direction only. This will allow you to get the desired shape easily. For those who have thinner nails, it is recommended to hold the file flush along with your nail and tilt it so that it can be filed from below. Pay careful attention to the nails and this tip will help against overfilling of nails.

Professional salons always use a soft nail file so that there is no tearing of the natural nails while overfilling does not occur as well. This technique is slow but will always guarantee a perfect shape. Make sure that the filing speed is also not erratic. Filing in one particular motion with light strokes is always going to be beneficial. Also, don’t do it back and forth since this will weaken the nail and will also increase your motion which increases the risk of damaging the natural nails. 


Step 2 : Soaking the Nails

The most relaxing thing in a manicure is the soaking of nails. Simply place your hands in a bowl of warm water. You can add cleansers or shampoos to it for a relaxing feel as well as it will ensure a better cleaning process. However, this relaxing part should not last more than three minutes. Over soaking could damage the skin and nails.

Step 3 : Removing Excess Cuticle

Simply apply the cuticle remover to cut off the thick skin around the nail. One thing that is important to understand that after you have soaked your hand in the warm water, the skin has gotten much more delicate and easy to tear. Therefore, make sure that while removing excess cuticles, you don’t tear off any skin. Make sure that you are not applying the cuticle remover for more than a few seconds as it is a quite strong chemical. 

Next, you will need to remove the excess cuticle via the cuticle pusher. Using the pusher, you just need to push the cuticle back away from the nail but in a very gentle manner. A little bit of everything works well over here but be sure to not go beyond the limits. Pushing the cuticle too far can cause damage to the nail or fray the cuticle. The main mistake made by many women is that they pull or lift the cuticle. Some even apply great force or cut it. Do not make this mistake as this could cause long-term damage to the nail. 

Always remember that under-doing is safe because you always have margins of safety. But once you overdo something, there is no going back. All that is required in this step is a mere change so applying excess pressure won’t be useful. Also, remove the hangnails around the sides while taking care that the skin or the nail do not get damaged in any way. Wash off the nails, or put them in a bowl of warm water again. Dry with cotton balls or earbuds. Using a moisturizer at this point is a good idea to exfoliate the hands and eliminate dead skin cells as well. 


Step 4 : Polishing

Expert beauticians always recommend that a base coat should be applied before using the actual nail polish. This is not only helpful in hydrating the nails but will also protect them and prevent any kind of chipping. The base coat should be applied for a minimum of 2 minutes and a maximum of 3 minutes before the next coat is applied. 

Once the base coat is done, you can then apply nail polish. It is advised to start from the middle of the nail and then uses the applicator brush to push towards the cuticle in a line. The three-stroke method involves applying on the middle first, and then towards the sides of the nails. You can watch different videos on Youtube regarding Nail Art and have some creative design as well. Using high-quality nail polish will help in evenly spreading to the entire nail in fewer strokes while giving away the truly glamorous look you aim for.

Keep in mind that do not overdo it because then the nail polish loses its grace. Too many strokes with an overloaded brush will just rip off the entire effort you did in the above steps. Some people may also use a polish handle if they have trouble keeping their hands steady. In case you are planning to get the sheer or pastel shade, a third coat could be better for a fuller and seamless coverage. 


Important makeup removing tips mentioned here – 5 Makeup Removing Tips That Will Change Your Life.

Step 5 : Finishing Up

To add more shine to the nails and give them more strength, our recommendation is also to get a topcoat else you might be compromising on the nail polish job that you just did. The topcoat is one of the most delicate things because the entire manicure session is behind it. A tiny mistake could ruin the previously done nail polish and starting again will not be easy. 

Shine enhancers are available in all the cosmetic shops and you can get one to make your nails shimmer. Once the topcoat dries off, it may seem tightened up but this sensation will go away with time. Of course, no one can do the perfect job in one go so you might have made a few mistakes too. Therefore, we recommend using a cotton ball along with a nail polish remover to remove any excess polish. Let the nails dry for a few minutes and you will be all set and ready to post the latest picture on Instagram.



Doing the manicure at home is not a tough job but just requires some care and dedication. We recommend that you do your manicure when there is sufficient time, for example, a Sunday evening could be perfect when you don’t have to go out for work, etc. 

Learn more about how to manage your natural nails at home – A Home Routine for Maintaining Natural Nails.